May is National Moving Month. That means now is a great time to focus on the members of your military family who might
not handle moving so well — your pets.
These companions, most commonly cats or dogs, warmed their way into your heart and when moving day comes, the tension can be stressful. A little planning and patience can help pets have a smooth transition that puts a premium on their well-being.
When pets are moving with a family, it’s important that they start adjusting early. This is usually easier for dogs because many owners will bring them along on car rides long before moving is ever a concern. Cats are a different story.
Most felines only see the outside of a home a few times in their life. On top of that, the trips are often linked to traumatic memories such as going to the veterinarian, which is why acclimating cats (or other pets not accustomed to life outside the home) early to traveling is always best.
To accomplish this, put a pet’s carrier in the home. Owners can use blankets, toys and treats to help pets adjust to the unfamiliar space inside the carrier. The same goes for a car. Take your pet on short trips and ease them into riding along in a moving automobile.
When a pet arrives, don’t give them free reign over the new space right away. Dogs might be overly excited and risk harm in the moving process. Cats might turn into a recluse at the sight of a new large area to roam. Confining pets to one room will keep them out of the way and lessen their stress.
It’s also a good idea to ease your pet into this new living situation. Letting an animal spend a few nights with the new family prior to moving will limit the signs of stress. Just don’t forget to give that lovable pet a big hug before the family leaves.
If a pet can’t come along, but the owner will return, like with deployment, it’s also recommended to acclimate a pet as soon as possible. The best option is asking a family member to watch a pet while the owner is away. When family members aren’t available, there are other good choices, including:
There may also be times when uprooting a pet doesn’t make sense or fit into a family’s needs.
If a pet can’t be moved, no matter the circumstances, the best option is to give a pet to someone the animal is familiar with. Giving a pet to another family member or friend is preferable. Foster care and adoption services can also help.
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